February / March 2009

February / March 2009

February / March 2009

What was that word again? The term “recovery” made its way to the front page of a major publication exactly once in the first five months of the current credit crisis. As March arrived, it was suddenly heard everywhere. Well, “recovery” is a better headline word than “catastrophe,” isn’t it? For one thing it’s shorter.

Riding it down. Or up. Or wherever. The index of leading economic indicators went up 0.4 percent after a 0.2 percent rise in January.

News judgment. SunTrust economists said in January the recession is “moderating, not deepening.” No outside media picked up their optimistic post from online. The Atlanta Journal & Constitution ran a piece on Coke chief Muhtar Kent’s view of the recession: “America will come out of it faster and stronger than many people think.”  The editor put it at the bottom of Page 5B. An article from the Associated Press, citing an unexpected drop in unemployment claims, ran in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution on Page 11A. Remember the joke about the little boy who, when confronted with a pile of manure, concluded, “There must be a pony in there somewhere”? They obviously don’t teach riding in journalism school.

Turnover at the top. CEO turnover doubles in bad times, says Dirk Jenter, assistant professor of finance at Stanford University. CEOs are most vulnerable when shareholder returns lag behind those of rivals. But the CEOs usually don’t get squeezed out for many months after the returns dip.

Fatal distraction. More than one executive these days might be caught in this mental trap: “I don’t have time to focus on employees right now. The economy is in shambles.”

The Myopic Manager. You’re tired, stressed from a busy week. People are trying to dump their problems on you before the weekend. Pressure seems to be building. Those are the worst conditions for carefully considering a decision. “Put it off until Monday,” says Tom Slocum, former SVP of Delta Air Lines (and one of our consultants). If you wait until Monday, you lose nothing. You gain perspective. And you get to start the week on a good note.

Addressing the address. Congratulations to last month’s contest winner – James D. Blitch IV, a partner at Atlanta-based Holland Schaeffer Roddenbery Blitch, LLP. He submitted Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address as the finest in our nation’s history. The book is on the way.

Quote to note. “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” ~ Ronald Reagan

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